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TAXAND NETHERLANDS HAS ANNOUNCED THAT SUSAN RAAIJMAKERS, HAS JOINED THE FIRM’S TAX PRACTICE AS A PARTNER

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Susan Raaijmakers - Partner, Taxand Netherlands

Raaijmakers has extensive experience as a tax adviser in the real estate sector and has worked previously at Andersen, Deloitte. She has experience in a variety of real estate projects such as setting up partnerships for private investors and institutional investor in The Netherlands, Germany and the USA, international tax advisory services to construction companies, real estate developers and real estate funds and due diligence reviews on the acquisition of real estate projects, real estate portfolio funds and real estate companies.

Marc Sanders, Tax partner at Taxand Netherlands added: “Raaijmakers joins us with a market leading reputation and wealth of experience in real estate related taxation. Her arrival compliments our current client offering and provides important additional reach for a number of Dutch and global real estate clients.”

Susan Raaijmakers - Partner, Taxand Netherlands

Susan Raaijmakers – Partner, Taxand Netherlands

Taxand provides high quality, integrated tax advice worldwide. Our tax professionals, more than 400 tax partners and over 2,000 tax advisors in nearly 50 countries – grasp both the fine points of tax and the broader strategic implications, helping you mitigate risk, manage your tax burden and drive the performance of your business.

We’re passionate about tax. We collaborate and share knowledge, capitalising on our expertise to provide you with high quality, tailored advice that helps relieve the pressures associated with making complex tax decisions.

We’re also independent—ensuring that you adhere both to best practice and to tax law and that we remain free from time-consuming audit-based conflict checks. This enables us to deliver practical advice, responsively.

Taxand has achieved worldwide market recognition. Taxand ranked in the top tier in Chambers Global Guide 2014 global network rankings and in the International Tax Review’s (ITR) World Tax 2014, 45 Taxand locations were commended and a further 26 locations listed in ITR’s World Transfer Pricing 2014. 29 countries were voted top in the ITR Transaction Tax Survey 2013 and 28 in ITR Tax Planning Survey 2013. Taxand has received 60 national awards and 13 regional awards in the ITR European, Americas and Asia Tax Awards since 2009. These include Latin America Tax Disputes Firm of the Year, European Private Equity Tax Firm of the Year, European Indirect Tax Firm of the Year, European Tax Policy Firm of the Year, Asia Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year, and Asia Tax Policy Firm of the Year.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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